Orange & Maroon Legislative Day 2017
On February 15, The Association of Former Students was proud to host the eighth biennial Orange & Maroon Legislative Day in partnership with the Texas Exes. This event serves to bring together a grassroots network of current students, former students, and friends of Texas A&M University and The University of Texas at Austin to advocate for higher education in Texas. This year's event was our largest yet and we are happy to report that we had a successful trip to the Capitol.
Volunteers discussed two critical issues impacting higher education with our legislators - Higher Education Finance and Tier 1 Research Funding.
Higher Education Finance
State formula funding directly supports the universities’ core academic mission—teaching. Continued cuts to higher education funding place increased pressure on students and families. Stable, predictable state funding promotes efficiency and better planning for students and families.
The biggest drivers of student debt are not graduating at all or in an untimely manner. Without sufficient support from the Legislature, there are fewer class sections, which delays accessibility to courses and availability of enriching opportunities for students and worsens the student debt crisis. Texas A&M University has the fastest average time to undergraduate degree and highest graduation rate for both full-time freshmen students and transfer students in the state. Continued support from the Legislature is essential to maintaining this achievement and ensuring that Texas A&M's tradition of excellence in education remains strong.
Tier 1 Research Funding
Support for the Governor’s University Research Initiative and investment in the Texas Research University Fund are critical to the success of research at UT–Austin and Texas A&M.
These two funds allow the state's two flagship universities to compete with other nationally ranked research institutions. By providing these resources, the Legislature creates an opportunity for Texas A&M and UT– Austin to successfully recruit and retain the best faculty and students.
The success of research at these two universities provides more than scientific breakthroughs and invaluable learning opportunities, it also creates the equivalent of 18,335 new jobs each year to ensure the success of Texans. Additionally, Tier–1 research at Texas A&M University and UT–Austin has generated $2.7 billion in sponsored research in the past two years for projects like autonomous vehicle research and anthrax treatment.